The financial services industry is still divided over cryptocurrency, with many analysts saying it’s the way to generate wealth quickly and others insisting it will crash and burn. But the technology that underpins Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptos — the blockchain distributed ledger system — is here to stay. It’s a technology with the potential to change the way the world does business and delivers healthcare.
Blockchain is a way for parties who don’t know one another to agree on a shared digital history. This makes it harder to falsify transactions. The technology is a way of cutting out the middle man, and in healthcare, this is a worthy goal.
We need to make healthcare more automated, secure and efficient. Blockchain offers a way to do this sooner rather than later.
There are several benefits blockchain offers that can solve pain points for the healthcare system.
Preventing fraud and cyber attacks
Cybersecurity spending across various industries could pass $1 trillion from by 2021, some analysts say. Data protection is increasingly important, especially in healthcare. At a time when new technologies are enabling patients to be in control of their medical records for the first time, these consumers must trust the security of this sensitive information.
Blockchain offers defense mechanisms against hacking and data manipulation. The distributed, cryptographically encrypted digital ledger is far more difficult to alter than other record-keeping systems.
As more medical information moves to the cloud, blockchain can safeguard it, as it can do with medical devices which are increasingly becoming connected and wireless.
Information is not stored in a central location when networks are built with blockchain. This feature makes it possible to store and access data from multiple locations. The various stakeholders in healthcare need a system like this. Patients, doctors, nurses, and other medical staff should be able to access the information and also in combination making room for increased interoperability.
The decentralized nature of blockchain and the distributed nature of ownership among the original contributors of data also creates distributed liability. Where data is stored centrally, the holder of the data is considered responsible in case of any breach. But blockchain distributes the liability on the same concept of its unique data ownership among the contributing owners.
Connecting the Stakeholders
Blockchain offers independence in the medical data field and secures and automates operations for various stakeholders. But can the healthcare system handle such a disruptive change? And how will this powerful new technology be regulated?
Is it possible that moving to a new system will add to healthcare costs?
The fact is, we don’t yet know all the answers when it comes to how blockchain will be deployed. But it’s likely the benefits will outweigh the cost, as the distributed ledger system is one that can eliminate barriers to quality healthcare and bring patients and doctors together without borders. Other benefits include:
· More personal healthcare delivery
· More proactive healthcare delivery
· Better data security, automation, and access
· Cutting out the middlemen in healthcare
Along with augmented reality and virtual reality, cloud-based practice management, and other technologies, Healthcare beyond borders will be working to bring blockchain forward as a new solution to the many problems in our healthcare system.